COVID-19 Pandemic

Civil society groups urge G20 Finance Ministers to cancel debt and increase health care in low income countries

July 17, 2020: Finance Ministers of the world's richest countries are meeting at the G20 on July 19 to discuss how to respond to the #Covid19 pandemic. Sixty-four countries spend more on debt repayments than healthcare.

The Covid-19 crisis could mean 500 million more people are pushed into poverty. In 2020 the group of 76 poorest countries are due to spend:

European Parliament strongly backs WHO effort for equitable access to COVID-19 vaccines

July 15, 2020: In an overwhelming vote on July 10, 2020, the European Parliament supported a World Health Organization initiative to create the Technology Access Pool (C-TAP), which would collect patent rights, regulatory test data, and other information that could be shared for developing drugs, vaccines, and diagnostics to combat Covid-19 and ensure they are accessible to all..

Argentinian health groups oppose monopoly patents on remdesivir drug for coronavirus treatment

July 9, 2020: US pharmaceutical giant Gilead has filed five patent applications for a 20-year monopoly on the manufacture and commercialisation of the drug remdesivir in Argentina. Remdesivir is the first drug approved globally to treat people infected with COVID-19. If the National Institute of Industrial Property (INPI) rejects the patent, it would be a significant step toward Argentina being able to manufacture remdesivir locally at a reduced price.

630 civil society groups warn of corporate threats to sue governments over actions taken to save lives during the COVID-19 pandemic

June 25, 2020, Media Release: “An open letter endorsed by 630 international and national civil society organisations has been sent to Trade Minister Birmingham, warning him that Australia could face a wave of cases from global corporations claiming millions in compensation for actions taken to respond to the pandemic. Corporations can do this using rules in trade deals known as investor-state dispute settlement, or ISDS,” AFTINET Convener Dr Patricia Ranald said today.

Trade impacts in the Global Coronavirus Crisis

June 15, 2020: A Special Issue of the Journal of Australian Political Economy focuses on the political economic fallout from the Coronavirus crisis. It contains 26 articles, written by Australian and international authors, each showing how political economic analysis can deepen our understanding of what has been happening. Many also reflect on what can now be done to pursue a more progressive agenda – for more secure jobs, less inequality and a more sustainable environment.

Australian Unions and Community Organisations urge Global Social Protection Fund during COVID-19 pandemic

June 8, 2020: Eight Australian trade union and civil society organisations including AFTINET called on the Australian government on June 4, 2020, to support the world’s poorest countries to deal with the health, economic, and social consequences of the COVID-19 pandemic.

37 countries back WHO’s new COVID-19 Technology Access Pool - medicines as global public goods

June 5, 2020: Thirty-seven countries supported the formal launch on May 29, 2020, of the World Health Organization’s COVID-19 Technology Access Pool (C-TAP), an initiative to increase access to knowledge needed to produce vaccines, tests, treatments and other health technologies to fight COVID-19. The Pool was first proposed in March by President Carlos Alvarado of Costa Rica.

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